Volkswagen still interested in Andhra Pradesh project

HYDERABAD — The special envoy of German carmaker "Volkswagen" Frank Elbe to India yesterday sought to put all the doubts about the Indian plans of the company to rest by declaring that the company was very much interested in putting up its plant in Andhra Pradesh.

By From Our Correspondent

Published: Tue 2 Aug 2005, 10:25 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:11 PM

Frank Elbe, the former German ambassador to India, who was recently named by Volkswagen as its envoy for India met the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy and other senior officials of the state government.

After the hour long meeting, Frank declared that the he had come to confirm the serious intention of Volkswagen to enter Indian market. "The visit here is meant to confirm again our serious intention and strong interest in entering the Indian market and to communicate to you that Volkswagen project is only temporarily put on hold because of the unfortunate incidents. I am referring to the activities of Dr Schuster," he said.

He also revealed that the Volkswagen has invited a team of officials of the Andhra Pradesh government to come to Wolfsburg for discussions on the Andhra Pradesh project. "Both side are preparing for such a meeting," he said adding that it will be a step forward for the project.

The visit assumes significance in the light of the recent disclosures about the suspected fraud committed by Helmut Schuster, the former head of Indian operations of Volkswagen.

"Volkswagen is going to assume the responsibility for the damage caused by the suspected illegal dealings of Dr Helmut Schuster," he said referring to the payment of two million Euros by the state government to a New Delhi-based company Vasisht Wahan.

After the money was found missing, the state government had ordered an inquiry in to the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigations. Frank Elbe said that the Volkswagen would compensate the damage suffered by the Andhra Pradesh government in this deal.

When asked whether the Volkswagen was also considering any other Indian state apart from Andhra Pradesh for the location of the proposed plant, Frank Elbe declared, "We are interested in setting up the project in Andhra Pradesh."

When asked to elaborate on the reasons for putting the project temporarily on hold, Frank said that the company had also become a victim of certain confusion which it has sort out. "This explains the delays in continuing with the project," he said.

He refused to say anything about the investigations in to the activities of the Helmut Schuster and added that proceedings have already been initiated against him.

A relieved Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy said that Frank Elbe has brought a message of goodwill from the Chairman Bernd Pischetsrieder and the Board of director of Volkswagen. "His visit is a visit of goodwill and a confidence building measure," Dr. Reddy said.

"What ever the shady deals of Dr. Helmut Schuster these things have to be put behind us and the relationship between Volkswagen and government of Andhra Pradesh have to continue. This is by and large the message brought by Mr. Frank Elbe," he said.

Expressing his happiness over the assurance of Volkswagen of its intention to go ahead with the project in Vishakhapatnam, Dr. Reddy said that the proactive support of state government would continue in bringing the facility of Volkswagen to Andhra Pradesh.

"All of us strongly felt that this visit of Frank Elbe has helped to remove any sort of air of suspicion and that the project will go on," he said.

The Chief Minister announced that a team of state government officials will visit Germany at the earliest for talks with the Volkswagen officials.

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